Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Satin Stitch samples

Take a Stitch Tuesday this week is Satin Stitch and I have been trying out mosaic patterns from A Pageant of Pattern for Needlepoint by Sherlee Lantz and Maggie Lane. Ten different patterns are shown in the sample stitched with Appleton Wool on 18 count canvass.

I have been looking at some of the older embroidery books that I have. The Arco Encyclopedia of Embroidery Stitches by Anne Butler has great photographs of different stitches and hand drawn diagrams. I bought a copy from the Friends of the Library book sale for $2.00.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Needlework Gardens . . .

I finished Eileen Bennett's Garden Sampler today -- it is a class piece from a class I took with the Lake Michigan Sampler Guild. The patten includes a number of different stitches all carefully diagramed. It is stitched in DMC Cotton Floss. Also in the Garden Theme, I have been working on Blackbird Designs Quaker Garden. I started it on Thanksgiving Day and hope to have it done before next Thanksgiving.

I also worked on my real garden -- we have been weeding flower beds, trimming trees and deciding what we need to replace or add. We have perennial beds that we have worked on ourselves, gradually building them up with different plants.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Take a Stitch Tuesday -- on Thursday

Here is a Take a Stitch Tuesday post before Monday night -- I used the crossed blanket stitch to make this free embroidery snail. The snail is stitched using left over needle necessities threads and kreinik metallic blue. The snail is very vibrant in person. The crossed blanket stitches were easy to make into a coil, although the metallic blue base for the snail could be more even. The rest of the snail is stem, or outline stitch, long stitches and french knots.

I also picked up my CSA share this afternoon -- between work and my last elementary school chorus concert. As you can see, the weather has been good and the produce harvest and variety are increasing. Red and white spring onions, multicolored beets, asparagus, thyme, bok choy, napa cabbage, lettuce, fennel, and rainbow chard. I am thinking salad, stir fry, and maybe tomato/asparagus risotto again this week. The newletter from Sandhill Organics included recipes for chicken stuffed with greens and chicken salad with napa cabbage that sound really good.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Dreaming of Blue Turtles and Bad Dogs . . .

I finished a needlepoint piece today -- actually I stitched 3/4 of the background yesterday at the karate tournament. I am not sure what I will do with the dog now that it is completed. The dog doesn't look like either of my dogs. However, I am sure that Cain and Abel would be very happy to steal a string of sausages if one was available. Instead they have to be content with milk bones, rawhide chews, and the occasional child's sock.

I also worked on an African Folklore Embroidery kit that I bought at the International Quilt show last year. It is surface embroidery in bright, not necessarily realistic colors. Working on the blue turtle reminded me of Sting's album Dream of the Blue Turtles. I have purple sea-horses, bright colored jellyfish and pink fish to complete the underwater scene.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A new take a stitch Tuesday

This week, I played with stitching on a grid. I used left over perle cotton on a larger count linen to experiment with different sizes and color combinations for the Butterfly Chain Stitch. In the center is a wrapped stitch from a previous week. The lack of creativity may be in part because this week's piece was stitched at a karate tournament.
I read more of Founding Mothers at the tournament and have decided that I like Mercy Warren who thought that it was possible to raise children, pursue the "womanly arts" and to write profound chapters (she had a career as a political pamphlet writer). Her needlework table top is on display in Pilgrim Hall.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Not all vegetables are green . . .

My third weekly CSA share included dandelion greens, spinach, Japanese turnips, asparagus, chives with flowers, rhubard, and potatoes. The colors are a sharp contrast to the all green share from last week. I am going to use the asparagus for strata for a church breakfast. I have to bring an appetizer on Saturday night -- it will be something with spinach in it. The new issue of Gourmet came today -- the back page features potato salads. Laurie Colwin would be thrilled -- I will have to try one of her recipes as well as the recipe in Gourmet for a potato salad with horseradish. I am open to suggestions for the rhubarb -- in addition to the rhubarb in my share I have a huge rhubarb plant in my yard -- it is outside the electric fence so the dogs can't chew it up and the rabbits don't like it so it is doing very well.
In addition to my vegetable share, I finished stitching Ewe & Eye & Friends Pea Pod Scissors Companion tonight. I have about a dozen of their scissor companion patterns -- two finished as scissor fobs, others stitched but not finished or unstitched. I picked this one for the Cross Stitch Pals May Stitch-a-Long since the theme is kitchen. Instead of stitching something for my kitchen, I decided to stitch something that might be found in my kitchen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More EQ6 Lessons and some reading

I finished the second lesson in the EQ6 User Manual, my second quilt is show above. I had fun playing with the randomize features and it is cool to watch the computer match the colors you use to real fabrics. I followed the instructions and added the entire wild west library to my sketchbook so the brown fabric with arrow head repeats came up often. It didn't do much for me and the arrowheads detracted from some of the more intricate designs. I will have to go back and play some more when I have time.
I looked at the Take a Stitch Tuesday selection for this week -- Butterfly Chain -- and I am thinking barbed wire, multi-colored lines, and porcupines. I am going to think about the porcupine idea some more -- it could be interesting.
There has not been a whole lot of reading going on recently -- more listening. I listened to The World is Flat while watching gas prices rise to $3.30 per gallon. Then for some escapism I listened to Whiskey Sour, a Jack Daniels Mystery, by Joe Konrath, and started Looks to Die For by Janice Kaplan. Whiskey Sour was a bit violent but entertaining and I liked Jack. Looks to Die For is annoying, one review suggested that the author should have stuck with romance novels. I have moved on to more intellectual listening and have started John Banville's The Sea, the language and images are beautiful but I am not sure listening is the best way to enjoy this book. I am reading one real book, Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts. The women of the revolutionary generation were quite independent and resourceful.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Take a Stitch Tuesday and other goings on

I created a garden using Kates Kloths stranded colors and a spare piece of linen for this week's Take a Stitch Tuesday combining basque stitches with cross stitch and stem stitch. I couldn't decide whether it needed another flower or not so I left it as is for now.
My copy of A Pageant of Pattern, the Lentz and Lane book of needlepoint stitches came yesterday. I was able to sit and study stitch variations and admire their incredible illustrations before I went to bed. I remember thinking about paying $200 for that book about 10 years ago, the one I got yesterday is in almost perfect condition -- dust jacket and all -- and only cost me $11 including shipping. I have been stitching on my Ewe and Eye and Friends pea pod scissor fob. I have finished the pea pod and all of the green backstitching which is good since I lost a length of dark green thread; the Anchor colors in their kits are not as easy as DMC for me to replace. I have quite a collection of their scissor fob designs -- stitched, finished and not started. I got them out and photographed them for the Needle and Thread board.

I made sorrel and potato soup tonight to eat during the week, arugula and cucumber salad, cheddar dill biscuits, pasta with goat cheese, asparagus, pine nuts, dill and mustard, and salmon with mustard and dill. The salad was delicious. Half the biscuits disappeared instantly and I liked the pasta but no one else did. We will have strawberry shortcake later for dessert. I have to think of spinach recipes for the rest of the week. . .

Friday, May 11, 2007

Second Week CSA Share

This week's share is dominated by greens -- spinach (2 bags), arugula, lettuce, and sorrel, with dill, asparagus, pea shoots and bok choy. I am thinking lemon flavored rissoto with asparagus, chinese or thai noodle salad with bok choy, salads, spinach pie, and a spinach omelet. I ate most of last week's share during the week -- I have some potatoes left, a couple stalks of green garlic and some chives. I think that there are some radishes too.

We have had a lot of pretty finches in the yard including some small, very yellow male gold finches. I imagine that soon they will start looking for mates. I love watching them while I sit at the kitchen table. Abel and Holly also love watching them through the glass door. Both dogs, Cain and Abel, like to watch Bob in the yard. Bob the Bunny is out and about this time of year and he knows where the dogs go and where they don't. He looks like he is teasing them by staying just outside of the electric fence boundary and twitching his tail at the dogs.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Quaker Exchange

I stitched a motif from the Ackworth Picture Frame in Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly for this quarterly quaker exchange. I used Caron Collection Waterlilies thread on a piece of linen from my stash. I decided to finish the piece as part of the cover of a book -- part of my effort to find ways to finish my needlework so that it could be useful. It was sent to its new home on Saturday and should be there soon.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

This is a short entry. I sat down and started to learn how to use electric quilt this evening. So far I have created a simple quilt. It was very easy to do, with practice, I should be able to use other patterns and color combinations to create anything I want.
Dinner tonight was beef with barbeque sauce, cabbage and radish slaw, and scallion biscuits. I made potato/corn chowder for lunch tomorrow and a buttermilk/scallion salad dressing. Tomorrow night, tandori chicken, roasted potatoes and tomato/cucumber salad.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Community Supported Agriculture
This week was the start of my vegetable shares for this season. The picture shows the vegetables in my share from Sanhill Organics ( I pick up my shares once a week at Prairie Crossing which is a few miles north. I enjoy the fresh taste of the vegetables and fruit that I get in the shares, I like supporting local agriculture and knowing where my food came from, and I like the surprise of picking up a different assortment of produce every week and planning dinner around it.
This week the share included green garlic, asparagus, chives, salad greens, radishes, red potatoes and tomato puree. Friday, I had a salad for lunch with radishes, salad greens, cucumber, tomato and tuna. Then, I made tomato/asparagus risotto for dinner with some of the garlic, the tomato puree and the asparagus. Potato side dishes and radish garnishes are planned for the rest of the week.